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Matrix Transmission Problems



  • bigdadi118bigdadi118 Posts: 1,207
    Tie a small bundle of German Shephard hair in the engine compartment.
  • I purchased used 03 matrix on March 18, 2008 for my daughter to drive car was very nice. My husband and myself both drove the car before purchasing it the car was great we found all the orginal service records in the car and even found a phone number for the orginal owner of the car (the only other owner) talked with her she said she never had a problem with the car. The car had 109K miles on the car when we bought it, about 4 to 6 weeks later the car just starts making this grinding sound and hard to go in gear we thought it was the clutch. After having a friend that is a certified bmw mechanic look at it we discovered it was the transmission! So, i call salvage yards, transmissions shops nobody can get me a transmission when i did find one it was $1500 used with close to 70k with little to no warranty!!!
    So, now i am stuck with a car that needs a transmission and a $320 month car payment. If i take it to the shop to fix the transmission, clutch & get my check engine ligh tto go off i am looking at close to $5000.

  • marjomarjo Posts: 28
    Really sorry to hear this. Does suck. I doubt they'll do much for a second hand vehicle, but maybe you could find out what dealership it was bought and serviced at previously. See if they can do anything for you under the "goodwill program". Print off all these complaints from this website and bring it in. File a complaint with Toyota. I did in Canada, but they still have told others after me there are no complaints. We have to all keep complaining about this to Transport Canada, Toyota, NHTSA ( and everyone we know. Tell everyone not to buy a 2003-4 Matrix 5spd. Anyone who still owns one should trade it in at Toyota and let them get stuck with all these lemons. I find people are still extremely skeptical because of Toyota's reputation, but that's only because their car hasn't failed YET. Happens at around 80,000-130,000km based on previous posts, almost all past warranty. I miss my Matrix, but I'll never buy another Toyota until they admit this issue.
  • I'm from Montreal and I just got my car back, guess I got lucky (if you can call it that) because I heard that weird sound comming from the trany early enough to get the car to the shop.

    I then brought it to Toyota to get it inspected and mentionned this forum, but they denied the problem as have so many others I have read on this forum

    They changed 2 bearings and charged me 1400$ ......

    To top it all off, my 5 year warranty ended July 16 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I bougnt my Matrix 2004 used and not from the dealer, so I received no special treatment and got my car fixed elsewhere...

    I am VERY dissapointed, this being my 1st Toyota, which I bought because of their good reputation.....

    I can't really afford 1400$ right now, but what choice did I have??
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    If you were under the mileage limit on July 16, it would have been worth your while to approach Toyota and ask for a good faith repair, even though you are not a regular at the dealership. That is especially true if you are still under the mileage limit now. We are talking four weeks here...a case could be made that it was already beginning to fail before the warranty expired, and it was just attended to later.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • The output shaft bearing is my 2003 Matrix 5sp manual transmission has joined others in failing. Thanks to this forum I recognized the problem early and was able to get the transmission repaired before the bearing failed completely and took out other components. As with others I was out of warrantee (77500 miles) and Toyota made like they had never heard of a transmission failure on this vehicle. Since I do my own maintenance (faithfully and by the book) I didn't have Toyota dealership maintenance records to point to. There was no help from "customer care" at Toyota. They offered me $ 6,000.00 for my Matrix if I wanted to trade it in. I went to a transmission shop and had the transmission repaired. The output shaft main bearing was failing. The shop installed an updated bearing kit in the transmission for around $ 2,300 total (removal, disassembly, bearing kit - includes all bearings in the transmission, reassembly, new clutch, flywheel surfacing, and re installation of tranny into vehicle). They told me they could not see any lubrication issues related to the bearing or transmission case design. Their best guess: Toyota got a bad batch of bearings. The new bearings in the updated kit appear to be the same design as the old ones. Toyota dealership told them they knew nothing of an updated bearing... parts from Toyota would have to be purchased one-at-a-time thus costing 3 or 4 times as much as the kit. The kit comes from an aftermarket supplier and cost around $ 675.00. Here's hoping this thing will last... I don't want to get rid of this vehicle which gives me 38-42 mpg on the highway.
  • I have an 06 base model Matrix with auto transmission. How is the trans serviced on this vehicle? Does it have a "conventional" pan and filter that is dropped and changed? Do most people just have it flushed or is there a drain plug in the trans that lets the mechanic drain the fluid and then just refill it? I would like to do some preventative maintenance since I plan on keeping the car for some time. Also, what fluid does it require, Dexron?, Mercon?, etc. Thanks! ;)
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    The one I had was an '03, and there was a sticker right on the auto trans dipstick that said something like "no routine maintenance". I may have misread the manual, and your '06 may be different from my '03 (although they otherwise have identical powertrains), but there is no scheduled maintenance for the automatic in the Matrix.

    I know that in my case I never had it changed prior to selling the car. I would imagine that if you tow with yours, that would change things.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • I want to replace a 2003 matrix 5sp manual trans with a 6sp manual trans.has anyone done this and does it pose many alterations?
  • If you would like to swap the transmission from 2ZZGE (Xrs 6 sp) to your 2003 Matrix, that would be impossible, Since the 2ZZGE has different casing configuration,. You better replace the whole engine with transmission If you can find one. :D
  • poypoy Posts: 1
    Hey everybody -
    Spent tons of time yesterday reading about the 5-speed manual C59 transmission/bearing problems in the Matrixes of a few years ago. I started to get scared about buying a new 09 Matrix S 5-speed manual. Should I be?

    I read that they started using better bearings in 05 and later. There were so many posts, but they were all from 03-05 owners, and of course the problem starts showing up about now in 09, after a few years driving it. Anyone know what the current situation is?
  • As a rule I buy cars only in the last year or two of a generation. Thus my '81, '85 and '88 Accords (still have the '88) have been excellent. My '06 Matrix has been trouble free (except for the lousy Continental tires). Consider getting an '07 low mileage Matrix instead.
  • weiomweiom Posts: 1
    Throw me in! Same thing

    2003 XR 5 speed manual transmission blew at 87k...drove around with some grinding, took it to the dealer, they said my transmission was screwed. i wanted a second opinion, so drove it to a mechanic that same day, and it was crackling the whole way over on 1st, 2nd gear, less on 3rd, and a little on 4th, and it lasted like this for like thirty minutes, before a high whistling sound became a little permanent, and then the absolute end: a higher whistling sound that made me stop as i rolled to the side on neutral. after that, couldn't put it in gear, nothing..had it towed to the mechanic, transmission's gone.

    we need to complain about this to TOYOYA! trying to look for a japanese had estimated costs at 3,500

    email me:
    [email protected]
  • gnashgnash Posts: 3
    I have the same problem. I found a rebuilt online for $700 and bought it.
    I've scoured the web looking for a shop manual or a description of removal/installation procedures. The guy I bought it from said it was a relatively easy home job.
    Anybody have info on how to go about this job?
  • I'm considering buying a used 2005 AWD with 42K. Is this transmission problem occuring with automatic trans. or just manual? Also looking at Vibe....any info. would be great. Thanks!
  • If you email me I can email you the official service manual in PDF. It might have what you need. It tells you how to take apart the transmission and repair it, so it should probably be good enough.
  • As far as I know, the problem is only the manual. If I had it to do over again, I would NOT get the manual, but I would get the AUTO, which is the only option on the AWD model. Also, the Vibe should be the same. No real problems with the auto trans there.

    I say go for it, as long as there are all the service records, or it comes with some sort of a warranty.
  • Thanks, canonlaw for the information!
  • I have an 06 matrix with 109K miles and the problems are beginning to show up. To repair my transmission as Toyota has told me to pound sand, it will cost $2500.00. This is my second Matrix as my first was an 03. I had to replace the transmission at 124K. That car was lost in an accident. I would recommend buying a Honda Fit. Toyota is not interested in correcting the problem as less then 4% of the market share is manual transmission
  • rparrpar Posts: 1
    My problems started late Friday fortunately 1/2 km from home. Malfunction lamp came on, engine stalled at a busy crossroad, managed to start it after a few tries, limped home, checked all connections seemed okay. Dealership today afternoon says seems like a computer problem (at only 34000 kms), wait till Monday, get a rental car, pay for rental myself (I do night weekend shifts ). Called Toyota customer service. They listened to my ramblings with concern however since I had no extended warranty I do not get a rental/courtesy vehicle. Told them that extended warranty comes after your regular 60000 km warranty. They said rental depends on dealership and dealership says depends on Toyota. Told Toyota this is becoming a vicious circle and hassle. Told Toyota I am going to write a complaint and next time no Toyota vehicles for me. Never had these hassles with American vehicles. In short, no more Toyotas I would even go close to. Why I am writing this is do not think about Matrix as they are not reliable and Toyota service needs big time improvement.

  • gnashgnash Posts: 3
    Thanks, canonlaw. Sorry for the delay in responding. I found the shop manual and decided against doing it myself after consulting a transmission shop I trust. I finally got the rebuilt installed and the total bill, including transmission, core refund, clutch and installation ... $2300 CDN ... roughly $1825US, so I think I came out pretty good, all things considered.
    I would highly recommend Kormex Transparts out of Ontario, CA. Ask for Lucas.
  • Yesterday on my way to work in Minneapolis the sounds that I thought I had been hearing from my 2003 Matrix became sounds I KNEW I was hearing. LOUD and clear. Got off the interstate at my normal exit and pulled into my workplace and besides the noise there was now difficult shifting. I went into work, immediately searched for Matrix transmission noise/failure and found this blog. In reading through the pertinent posts I found that my matrix at 65K miles was an absolute textbook example of the failure. Lower rumblings weeks ago, a strange noise when backing off the throttle and just slightly louder transmission sound in general. Then, as others have pointed out, there was the clunk, the whine, the squealing all happening within my commute yesterday. During my lunch hour I limped it to the closest Toyota dealer. By that time I had printed out pages from here and from other sites. When I checked in with the service dept. I told them it was the classic Matrix 03-04 trans 5-spd. failure that is all over the web. They were very polite but did not really acknowledge that they knew of this. I left the car and got a call several hours later that the transmission was gone and would need to be replaced. Which is just what I had told them earlier. They also said in there message that a fellow from Toyota would be out today to look at it and decide if any "good will" would be available. The service guy did say that he would like me to get all my service records with regard to fluid changes to him as well. OK, I need to wrap this up. Service guy called me at 9AM this morning and said "Toyota will give you a new transmission, if you will pay for labor"...I said done deal. It will be about $900 but my own local mechanic could not even match that putting in a used tranny. It was basically done NO QUESTIONS ASKED! While it is apart I am having them do the clutch plate (at 50% wear ) and a throw out bearing. Like the service guy said, hey the labor is already being paid for in the tranny swap so all that will be is parts. So...many thanks to all of you who take the time to write here. I hope that my little story will be of some help to someone else. Oh yeah, I did ask if the new tranny going in was just another 2003 model or had it been improved, they assured me that it was a new Part NUmber and an upgrade from orig. thanks again!
  • 2004 Base Matrix 5-speed DEAD at 73K

    Found this post AFTER my tranny failed. Wish I could have found it before. Same tranny problem as everyone has had. Noise coming from engine compartment, led to a whine which led to, what sound like, pieces of my tranny falling out. After that I lost first gear. Pulled into a gas station and decided to try to hobble to the dealer. Didn't make it, tranny died and it's stuck in second. Car is at 73k and obviously out of warranty. I called Toyota and talked to a very nice guy. However..... they decided that there was nothing they could do to help me with the $3,100 tranny replacement. This was my first and will be my last toyota. Bought this car brand new, bought toyota for its reliability record, bought a P.O.S.
  • Hello everyone,

    My name is Tim and I work for an automotive facility in Green Bay Wisconsin. We are typically a performance shop that modifies vehicles for racing and other competitive use, however I happened to own a 2003 Matrix XR with a manual transmission. Its actually my wife's car, but for a while I had been hearing a grinding noise when the car was in gear and under power. After some research I found this thread and determined that the bearing was on its way to failure. Surprisingly our car had over 100k on it, seems like it lasted longer than others on here.

    Being that we purchased the car used and the millage I knew Toyota was not going to do anything to assist us. So i had the guys in my shop remove the transmission and check everything out. Yep, there it was a faulty bearing ready to fall apart. Called Toyota got the new bearing and had the guys put it back together with a new clutch as well.

    I see some of you have had better luck with Toyota, and others have found reman units for your cars. I found it difficult to find a unit for a reasonable price. So, I'm here to offer to anyone who is interested a rebuild service. If you are experiancing this problem please email me at: [email protected] and I'll be happy to provide you with a quote on rebuilding your transmission, as well as the service to remove and install your unit if you live near us. We are located in Green Bay Wisconsin. Our website is

    Again, we are a performance shop, but because of my experience we are now fully prepared to work with you on this or any other issue you may have. Hey, we installed a supercharger on a matrix last year too...

    Thanks everyone, good luck

  • Anyone had transmission problems with the 6spd? Mine has 121,000 miles on it and when it is cold it is slightly stiff and hard to shift into gear. However when the car warms up it is pretty normal. I don't seem to have any weird sounds coming from my transmission as outlined in some of the discussions.

    Do the XRS 6spd's have the same bearing issues as the 5spd's?

    Should I dump this car before it leads to bigger problems?
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    I think everyone reporting the problem has had the 5-speed, not the 6-speed. Also, with that many miles and stiffness going into gear especially when cold, I wonder if you might not have a worn clutch.....

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • Add me to the list: My 2004 toyota matrix with 92000 miles had the transmission fail yesterday, looks like another failed bearing. if there's any legal action please send me the info, I'm ready to battle it out!!
  • Jamborski, I feel your pain and anger. I am back at post 250 here. Somewhere back in the thread there is a link to the National Transportation Highway Safety Board or whatever it is. They have an online complaint (safety concern) form you can fill out. It seems that they don't want to consider this a safety issue. Hmmmm. They replaced the bolts for my power windows because they may break the glass - under safety recall! If you ask me, a transmission failing at highway speeds is more dangerous to the driver and other vehicles around them than bad glass. Whatever. I am second owner of my 2003 and did not have service records. But Toyota gave me a new transmission (I paid labor) with no questions asked. And it is not the same 2003 transmission. I can tell by where the shifter enters the transmission etc it is a redesign of some sorts. So maybe this one will last 2 or 3 hundred thousand miles like a manual tranny should.
  • Just bought 2009 Matrix - while I did research BEFORE I spent the money, I didn't catch this forum - I relied on the mainstream stuff (Consumer Reports, etc.). Man, I wish I had found this forum instead. Bottom line, I spent more than I could really afford, cut all other expenses, etc, just so I could have a reliable and safe car to help out with my grandkids. All that said, I have read the entire thread, some say that there has been a remedial bearing after 2005.

    Q: does anyone know for sure if the bearing problem has been corrected???? Is there any way to verify from Toyota what has been changed (like is it a new 9 ball bearing as opposed to the old 6 ball bearing, or whatever).

    Thank you all for having put out the information for those more diligent than I who might find it before they buy.

    dennis :confuse:
  • So i've ready the board that there's a aftermarket bearing you can pickup? Does anyone know or have the part # for this? I just got quoted $3k for most likely the same tranny problem (i'm pissed right now). i'm hoping that the tranny is still in 1 piece and can make it to my mechanic so he can work on it rather than replacing my tran. Any info would help . Thanks.
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